Dough has a mind of its own

Dough has a mind of its own so do not give up should you get a brick at the first attempt.

Once, for a whole month, our bread would hardly rise and we still do not know why. It is not a reason to quit if your results are disappointing at first.

Bread has a mind of its own.

By Bernard Preston

Baking your own bread is really only for those who have a mind for being precise; amongst which I do not number. However, I have been doing it daily for so long that within reason, I can tip the ingredients in, say a prayer, hope for the best, and nine times out of ten get it right.

Does the very best bread in the whole world for about R5 per loaf appeal to you?  I am not exaggerating.

Then it is time to consider purchasing a bread machine; you can often pick them up secondhand for a song. Ours is a Panasonic, 25 years old and still working near fine; only the seed tray has failed and since adding sunflower and poppy makes for a heavy loaf we had given up using it anyway.

You can do it the old-fashioned way by kneading, rising, punching down, more rising and then baking, but it is quite arduous and very time-consuming.

Some would say that is the right way.

And you have to heat the whole oven, and then the cost of electricity becomes a factor. The power to fire up a bread-machine costs about 50c; unless you are a greenie, then it is free.

The bread machine is rated as the most underused appliance in the kitchen, so think carefully before starting; there is no point in deciding to run the Comrades, but running out of steam before you pass the Shellhole.

Bread dough has a mind of its own though and if you give up the first time you produce a loaf that has the feel of a brick, then it has all been an expensive exercise in futility.

In the enclosed photo two loaves made on consecutive days are shown; one was a brick.

Supermarket bread has come into disfavor in recent times and for good reason. Firstly it tastes like cardboard, so you have to smear it with jellies, jams and polony. In the main, because even the whole-wheat is so refined, it has a high GI and is fattening.

First may I make a comment about flour; there is colossal lie in grinding wheat. Internationally, millers can remove up to 40% of the goodies and still call it wholemeal. But in fact much of the bran where the fibre and vitally important lignans are found, and the germ where the protein, healthy oils and vitamins and minerals are located have been extracted; they are sold to the pig-farmer and we get the empty calories that remain.

Whilst some of these refined flours are reasonable, to my mind, if you are going to do this properly, reckon on buying a wheat grinder within a year; the oils go rancid in less than a week once milled and exposed to air.

Unless you have an uncle in the milling business, grind it yourself just before baking. Wheat from the farmer cost R4/kg; and then you do not need to be taking a host of vitamins and minerals too and, because of the lignans, can be a lot less fearful of malignant breast disease; they, and the vitamin E and calcium alone make the exercise worth the effort. A life without medication is not a pipe-dream for most greenies.

Our old stone wheat grinder has paid itself off many times over. They cost about R5,000, but I accept that only a few will decide to mill their own flour. It is only for those who are really serious about their well-being.

Gluten intolerance is another reason many have given up bread; however, it is so easy to make sourdough which digests the wheat properly, breaking down the offending short protein chains with proline that create havoc in the intestines of some people.

It tastes so good that you do not need those sweet jams, and even those suffering from Coeliac disease can often eat bread made in this way.

You are very busy and it takes far too long? Is six minutes to grind the flour, toss in the ingredients, and then add the yeast to make the best bread in the world really too much time to attempt such a massive step up to better health? And it has a taste to die for. Of course, you have to wait another five hours for it to rise and bake. The second episode about the ingredients will be in a couple of weeks.

Dough has a mind of its own

Dough has a mind of its own as subtle changes in temperature and humidity, and when you add the salt and sourdough, can have profound effects.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Our green home
  3. Dough has a mind of its own

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Hilton, KZN

South Africa